David Bowie was riding high from the success of his Ziggy Stardust era with albums such as Diamond Dogs and The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars, the Ramones released their debut record, Led Zeppelin had arguably become the biggest rock band on the planet, and the late 70s witnessed the birth of Punk Rock. The 70s was a decade like no other when it came to music. One we’ll most likely never see again.

Towards the end of the 1960s, a new style of Rock was emerging. With the 60s being heavily dominated by pop music, a new breed of musicians started to diversify their sound and move away from the polished pop sound, embracing elements of rock and psychedelia with hints of blues.

The new genre would be labelled Progressive Rock or Prog Rock for short. It was an exploration of music that would embrace the true depths of a musicians soul. Often trademarked with experimental time signatures, diverse melodies and song structures whilst usually being heavily influenced by mind-altering substances and science fiction.

The first widely accepted Prog Rock album was recorded by an English band called King Crimson in 1969. The album entitled ‘In The Court Of King Crimson’ is still to this day one of the most widely acknowledged influential Prog Rock albums of the genre.

Forming in the same year as King Crimson and Black Sabbath was a Canadian Prog Rock band called Rush. Although the band formed in 1968, the man who would become known as The Professor didn’t join the band until 1974.

The Professor would eventually be recognised as one of the greatest drummers, and lyrical composers of all time. He would also help to see Rush elevated to Prog Rock legends. That man was Neil Peart.

Neil Peart completely changed how Rush would approach songwriting. Whilst singer and bass player Geddy Lee along with guitarist Alex Lifeson would focus on pushing the band’s blues-rock sound, Neil Peart would begin to write epic tales of science fiction and fantasy that would lead to some of the most complex song arrangements of the time.

Peart would become the band’s principal lyricist and ultimately their biggest driving force.

1975 saw the band release their first 2 records with Peart, Fly By Night and Caress Of Steel. Fly By Night would include Rush’s first mini tale of science fiction. A 9-minute long progressive rock track called. ‘By-Tor and the Snow Dog’ but this was only the beginning of Peart’s genius musical visions.

1976 would see Rush release one of their most iconic records to date. A record that inspired a new generation of musicians all over the globe to pick up a pair of drum sticks, including nirvana legend Dave Grohl.

This record would kick off with a 7 part, 20-minute long futuristic science fiction song called 2112, which was also the name of the album.

Neil Peart says this epic opening track was inspired by a Science fiction novella written by Ayn Rand, a Russian-American writer and philosopher born in St. Petersburg in 1905.

Rand accredited her own creative influence to the Greek philosopher, Aristotle. Her quest for an understanding of humanity and the origins of existence is something Neil Peart also seemed to be fascinated by.

Peart’s never-ending obsession with knowledge would also spill over into his never-ending obsession with his love for drumming and songwriting.

An obsession that would inspire him to write some of the most memorable songs of all time, and become what some would say as the greatest drummer of all time.

Peart’s obsession with drumming and reading starter when he was in school, he spent most of his time either in a library or behind a drum kit. Somewhat of a child prodigy.

These early passion would lead Rush to release one of the greatest Rock records of all time. 2112. Even by today’s standards, the production, composition and concept is truly impressive and unique.

2112 was recorded at Toronto Sound Studios, Canada during February of 1976 and released in April of the same year. It could also be argued that this record saved Rush’s career as their label at the time, Mercury Records, was considering dropping Rush due to their previous album, Caress of Steel, suffered from disappointing record sales.

Luckily for Rush, and music fans around the globe, they were granted one more album release and 2112 was unleashed on the world.

Peart didn’t just look at his drum kit as a percussion instrument, he saw his instrument as a way to translate his knowledge of the world and his stories into sound. This approach to writing resonated with millions of people around the world and gave his work a stamp of credibility that few musicians can replicate. His soul was wired into the very lyrics he put to paper.

A powerful record that will help to keep the memory of Neil Peart well and truly alive for many years to come.

Author Bio: AC Speed

Senior Editor

I started my career as a music journalist in 2013 and have been involved in the music industry as a touring musician, studio engineer and artist consultant since 2002, as well as previously being a signed artist. My passion for delivering high quality, informative music-related news is a daily driving force behind the content I create. Also a huge gaming nerd! Born in the United Kingdom and currently living in Sweden. Skål!


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